1.1 Changing political and economic environment 1918-79


1.1 Decline and fall of Liberal Party

  • Replacement of Liberals by Labour as main rival to Tories 
  • 1936 Dangerfield argue Liberals doomed before WW1 - failure to cope with union strikes, suffraggette militancy and problems in NI - others argue Liberaals would have survived if not for events of 1914 -needed 'New Liberalism' - working class support
  • Trevor Wilson argue Lib Party run over by war - forced to take illiberal measures e.g. gov control,conscription and rationing
  • DLG oust traditional Asquith as PM Dec 1916 - Libs see DLG as traitor + support Asquith - not back together for 1918 election
  • 'Maurice Debate' 1918 cement bitterness - Maurice wrote public letter accuse DLG lying to parliament about no. troops on WF; Asquith attack but not oust DLG
  • DLG rely on Tory support in 'Coupon election' - Coupon = letter by DLG and Tory Bonar Law to parliamentary candidates who stood for coalition 
  • Tories need man who won war + Lib party split, DLG need Tories
  • 1918 Representation of the People Act - allow men 21+ vote, no restriction, women 30+
  • Women make 43% electorate (had x3), 7.7m 1910 to 21.4m 1918 total
  • Ind w/c make up 80% - Henry Pelling argue Lab benefit with w/c and 'Labourism'
  • Duncan Tanner say w/c majority only incr 76 to 80% - affect all men
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1.1 Decline and fall of Liberal Party

  • Adelman focus on mistakes and problems faced after Asquith + DLG after 1918
  • May 1920 - Asquith Libs vote to ejectt  DLG supporters from Leamington Party conf bc DLG made serious but unsuccessful attempts to convert temp Lib-Tory coalition into permament anti-Lab 'Centre Party' 
  • Rumours of corruption (cash for honours) and blame for war mongering against Turkey Sept 1922 (chanak incident) - Tories reject coalition - DLG resign
  • DLG amass huge political fund through sale of honours (knighthoods bought £10,000) - not share with Libs until they follow ideas + gave his supporters top jobs
  • Libs could not maintain effective party machine or to field candidates at gen elections 1922-3-4
  • Only when Asquith step down as party leader in 1926 that DLG would share money - put out impressive, innovative policies in booklets = too late 
  • First past the post system - favoured 2 party contest; Libs fail to covert support into parliamentary seats + remain 3rd party candidate
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1.1 Rise of Labour Party

  • Lab formed 1900 but was only junior party before 1918 
  • 1923 Lab gain more votes than Libs for first time and 1924 Ramsay MacDonald 1st Lab PM
  • Lab largest parliamentary party May 1929 + MacDonald became PM for 2nd time
  • Unlike Liberals, Lab remain together; splits in 1914 but in 1917 Lab ministers in wartime coalition resigned + reunited  -  huge growth in trade union membership
  • Unions fund party from membership fees + provide bulk of membership
  • Labour unlike Libs ran successful political machine + field similar no. cands to Tories 1922-3
  • Ross McKibbin argue Labour's ability to represent a growing sense of w/c identity as opposed to win supporter from Libs
  • Others point to significance of Lib split; Asquith support Lab gov after 1923 election bc thought it would do bad job + rely on Lib support - huge mistake - MacDonald rule with caution + impress everyone with conduct of foreign affairs 
  • MacDonald compelled to resign 
  • 4 days before election, Daily Mail print letter supposedly written by Gregory Zinoviev to GB Communist Party, which said Lab promoted Communism by recognising the Soviet Union
  • Campbell case and Zinoviev letter boost Tory votes 1924, but Labour win 1929 election under MacDonald
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1.1 Conservative success

  • Given that 80% electorate was w/c, Conservative success requires explanations
  • Success began between wars due to successful rebranding of party in 1872 under Disraeli - promoted Tories as one nation party of empire, national defence and patriotism - appeal
  • Baldwin build on branding 1923 - presented himself as ordinary man of people - pioneer use of radio to talk directly to people + had reputation for calling spade a spade
  • Ran factories fairly + keen to promote harmony between workers + employers
  • Promote class based politics + destroy Lib party
  • Baldwin speak against DLG at Carlton Club meeting - Conservatives abandon coalition 
  • Won over DLG remain supporters by adopting protectionism 1923, but drop it 1924; removed issue that briefly reunited Liberal Party, free trade
  • Conservatives benefit electorally in interwar period from:
  • Until 1948 Representation of the People Act allowed Oxford and Cambridge Universities and the City of London to return 14 MPS, usually Tory, between them. Allowed graduates who reside part time to vote in multiple constituencies
  • 1921 Irish Free State gain independence from UK, while libs lost support of 80 Irish Nationalists, still had support of 10 Northern Irish MPs
  • FPTP with uneven distribution of votes in different constituenccies benefit Tories. 
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1.1 Why was a National government formed 1931?

  • Oct 1929 WSC = global decline in trade and production - Labour MPs and ministers disagreed making cuts in spending (10% on unemployment benefits) - forced to make cuts
  • MacSonald and ministers expelled from Lab - PM without party- 24 August announce National Gov. King George V persuade him to stay on, stability important
  • Tories support MacDonald - Baldwin knew Mac bear blame for unpopular economic measures - lead way for Tory triumph 
  • Mac health failed so Baldwin essentially serve as PM 1931, Mac resign 1935 and Baldwin in for 3rd time
  • Plan to appease fascist Italy giving 2/3 Abyssinia unpopular + abandoned - work with League of Nations to achieve peace
  • Some want rearmament to face Germany, some want peace for LON - 1935 GB incr spending on rearmament to fulfill military requirements from LON - Baldwin 'guilty men' 
  • Advise King Edward VIII to abdicate rather than attempt to marry American divorcee
  • Baldwin hand over reigns to Chamberlain at hard time - successful creation new homes
  • Sept 1938 fly 3 times to resolve crisis w Hitler 
  • Chamberlain vote of no confidence and replaced by Churchill 
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1.1 Failure of extremism

  • National gov temp solution to national crisis of economic depression - cont to 1945
  • Oswald Mosley promising Lab MP before disillusioned with lack of innovation in tackling economic crisis - found New Party to prmote own ideas 1931 election, 0.2% vote
  • Mosley = disillusioned by democracy 1932 - British Union of Fascists - aim to emulate Italian dictatorship of Mussolini - Oct 1936 BUF march through East London, many Jewish + Irish immigrants - became violent = Cable Street
  • Became unpopular - Mosley imprisoned for 3yrs + BUF banned
  • Release 1943 when not deemed threat to war effort
  • Communist Part of GB (CPGB) GAIN 1 mp 1924 + 1935, 2 in 1945
  • Max 0.4% vote - GB voters reject Communism due to traditions + strength of trade unions and Lab movements
  • CPGB gain some support due to role of Soviet Russia in defeating Nazi Germany
  • CPGB clearly placed needs of Moscow ahead of GB; until Hitler attacked Russia in June 1941, the party followed Soviet orders to oppose war
  • Only way forward for CPGB was in a few inner-city councils and through entryism into Lab Party; communists would hide their true loyalties + infilitrate Lab to steer nation to radical left - problematic later on in century
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1.1 How far did WW2 affect British democracy?

Some temporary changes in gov and legislation to faciliate 'total war'

  • War Cabinet (5 men) set up to make quick decisions about war - Churchill, 2 Lab, 2 Tory
  • New ministries made: Lord Beaverbrook, a newspaper magnate (no experience) became Minister for Aircraft Production. Churchill approve men who get things done, rather than following procedure
  • Emergency Powers Act 1940 - gave wide-ranging powers over GB people to gov
  • Churchill took post of Ministry for Defence + PM - oversaw home front but played major role in military strategy. Most significant success was maintenance of domestic morale + purposefulness; speeches inspirational + will to win + leadership
  • Careful to maintain support of parliament unlike DLG; some political changes Churchill could not counteract
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1.1 Why did Labour win 1945 election?

  • People shocked that Churchill did not win 1945 election - due to voters' memories of failure to build 'home fit for heroes' after WW1 + failure to solve Depression 1930s
  • Churchill assumed he would win + besmirched Lab as dangerous party who would use secret police to enforce radical change - false
  • After victory in Europe May 1945, broke off coalition to fight election as separate party - more in tune of public demands unike Tories - promised 1942 Beveridge Report in its 1945 manifesto 'Let us face the future'
  • Labour seen as responsible party because of its contribution in WW2:
  • Attlee serve as depurty PM, often acting as PM in Commons while Churchill busy with war
  • Ernest Bevin minimised strikes + maximised oupute as Minister for Labour, became Foreign Secretary postwar
  • Herbert Morrison serve as Home Secretary; finest work was coordination of efforts to cope with effects of Blitz - became deputy PM postwar
  • Hugh Dalton had economic competence as Minister for War Economy + then President of Board of Trade - became Chancellor of Exchequer after the war
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1.1 Why was there a post-war consensus?

  • WW2 bring Lab and Toy together in successful National gov
  • War represent victory of collectivism
  • Common experience of successful state led struggle to overcome challenges caused by public  + some Tories accept economic + social policies regarded as 'socialist' or 'radical'
  • Most important were nationalisation and NHS
  • Though Tories in power 17rs 1945-79, did little to stop Lab extension of state management
  • Lab reforms not as left as they could have been - Attlee instead wanted to create 'mixed economy' or 'middle way' to prevent failures + curb excesses of capitalism that led to misery in 1930s - Tories accept compromise
  • Another reason is several leading Tories were progressive:
  • At 77 in 1951 Churchill too old to change ways + keen to make self electable peacetime PM
  • Anthony Eden (PM 1955-7) 'one nation' tory want social cohesion so GB take seriously in foreign affairs
  • Richard Butler leading reformed who was driving force behind 1944 Education Act
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1.1 Attlee's postwar government

  • Nationalisation - Bank of England, Air Transport (1946), cable + wirless, coalmining (1947), public transport, electricity generation (1948), gas (1949) + iron + steel (1951)
  • Aimed to 1. improve efficiency of failing jobs + save jobs. 2. improve worker-employer relations in industries with poor track record. 3. puts needs of community above profit (e.g. through creation of national transport system that provide service to even remote areas0
  • Planning - Economic Planning Council established 1947 with several committees to check on issues like production + imports. National Agricultural Advisory Service gave advice to farmers on how best to use subsidies to improve efficiency
  • Control measures - period of austerity enforced by Chancellor Stafford Cripps (1947-50) to aid GB's economic recovery: rationing on some foods until 1951 (tea, sugar, bacon, butter); some staple foods (bread + potatoes) included in fair share scheme
  • Coal rationed during harsh winter 1947-8 + controls put on max levels of rent, profits, interest
  • Gov receive criticism from right (too much inteference), the left (not enough planning/real change) + by1950-1 people tired of austerity
  • Policies with a loan of $2.7b as part of Marshall Aid enable some reforms in welfare provision at a time of severe economic difficulty
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1.1 How much political consensus by 1979?

  • 1979 GB vote overwhelmingly for end of post-war consensus - Thatcher became GBs first female PM + wanted to kill off creeping socialism in Tory party
  • People began rejecting consensus - Keynesian economic policies followed by govs since war felt to be failing by 1970s
  • Tories began to call for return to free-market solutions to problems such as inflation + unemployment
  • Tories trade unions had gained too much power + that something must be done to stop them using strike action to hold democratically elected gov to ransom for higher wages
  • Heath tried but failed to break post-war political consensus
  • Lab PMs Harold Wilson + Callaghan too dependent on trade union support to tackle growing problems
  • Lack of success or choice from both sides allow for resurgence of Lib support under Thorpe, FPTP system prevent recovery
  • Took Winter of Dicsontent before electorate opt for Thatcher's tough solutions
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The economic legacy of WW1

  • Loss of trade - Before 1914 GB leading trade nation - war led to collapse in trade b/c all available shipping had been used to import essential war supplies (20% merchant ships sunk in process). Economic rivals like USA + Japan fill gap left by decline in GB exports - GB unable to recover its previous domination of market after war
  • Debt - War was expensive + once GB spent reserves of gold + sold it overseas assets, forced to borror £850m to fight last 2yrs war - reduce confidence in state
  • Value of the pound - Before war value of £ fixed to price of gold, guarded against inflation as gov not simply print money if they did not have gold reserves to back up paper money. Cost of war meant GB abandon Gold Standard + start printing money
  • Technological development - accelerated by war - aircraft, radio communications, car industry + medical science. Wider use of machine tools + assembly line techniques
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1.1 Poverty post-war economic solutions 1920s

  • War not blame for all GB economic problems 1920s - Several GB industries (shipping, mining, steel,iron) old + struggle to survive with rivals GB investors slow to back new industries + cont to seek overseas opportunities for investment
  • GB trade unions never larger (4m members 1913 to 6.5m 1918) - reduce working hrs 54-47
  • No. ineffective solutions put forward to competitiveness + redundancies:
  • Tax, spending + balancing budget - to reduce inflation asap, taxes raised from £18 per capita to £24 per capita 1922. Spending cut - 1921 DLG appointed Commission on National Expenditure under Geddes. 1922 Geddes Axe led to cuts in education, pensions, unemployment, benefit, housing + house from £206m to £182m. Prompt cuts in defence from £190m to £111m - spending creep back up 1924. Cuts = unemployment
  • Interest rates + value of the pound - gov set high rate interest to cut inflation + encourage foreigners to buy £s. This incr value £ against other countries = economic strength. Goald was to restore £ to prewar value of 44.86 (1919 £1 was $3.81). Suspension Gold Standard end in 1925. High interest rates = more expensive for businesses to borrow + spend, people more likely to save. High exchange rate made GB exports expensive = uncompetitive
  • Protectionism - duties to protect keyindustries - old ind hit hard by abroad competition, 1923 Balwin's tarriffs rejected by electorate (fear high £ food imports)
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1.1 Poverty post-war economic solutions 1920s cont

  • Unemployment = huge problem - never fell below 10%, one million workers, between wars
  • Rose to 23% during worst years of slump, 1932-33
  • These are avg figures for UK
  • Regional variations e.g. 60% in shipbuilding areas, 49% in iron + steel. 41% in coalmining
  • Gov not see employment as their responsibility, soaring cost of unemployment insurance was a major cause for concern
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1.1 Recovery 1930s

  • WSC = collapse of global trade + EU nations unable to repay debts to GB
  • Bankers demand further spending cuts to boost economic confidence before they would lend money to UK gov; MacDonald had imposed spending cuts 1931, loan of $80m being fast used
  • Trigger for economic change in economic policy was mutiny of 12,000 sailors in opposition to pay cuts at Invergordon, Scotland, September - clear the cuts couldn't cont, 5 days later GB leave Gold Standard, £ depreciate in value from $4.80 to $3.40
  • Clear by mid 30s that change in priorities led to greater economic success
  • GB exports become 25% cheaper + more competitive; interest rates cut from 6 to 2%
  • Rate on longterm gov borrowing cut from 5 to 3.5%  -slash cost gov debt repayment = spending in other areas e.g. restoration of unemployment benefits1934 - businesses spend more
  • Availability of cheaper mortgages fuel housing construction create 1 in 3 jobs 1931-4
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1.1 Managed economy 1939-51

  • National gov had no reservations about interferring in people's lives to achieve 'total war'
  • Rationing + conscription introduced almost immediately
  • Registration for employment made compulsory 1941; gov issue 8.5m Essential Work Orders
  • By 1945 3.2m work in munitions, 4m other war work + 5.5m armed forces
  • Some strikes, to boost wages not attack gov planning
  • Increased acceptance of gov management in economy
  • 1944 gov declare longterm responsibility for employment
  • Accepting ideas of John Keynes - borrow + spend money to stimulate recovery
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Butskellism: Conservatives in power 1951-64

  • 'Butskellism' sums up almost identical economic policies of Lab + Tories
  • R.A. Butler was Tory Chancellor (1951-55) while Gaitskell was leader of Lab (195-63)
  • Apart from reprovatisation of steel + road haulage, Tories accept Lab post-war reforms + have same Keynesian approach
  • Problems that developed:
  • Inflation - priority was to maintain inflation at healthy, low level - if prices rise, steps taken to 'stop' the economy (e.g. rising tax or liming pay incr) - unable to prevent inflationary pressure
  • Unemployment - Tories pledge to maintain employment. If economy began to dip then expansionary measures taken (e.g. cutting taxes + interest rates). Tories accused of using more popular 'go' policies before elections, put political gain ahead of economic stability
  • Slow growth - GB economy grew slower rate than its competition (2.3% py compared to 5.1% in Germany) - due to lack of investment in research/development other than defence
  • Tories crticised for responding to shortterm problems rather than effectively managing GB economy - 'stop-go' policies paper over problem
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1.1 Failure to cope with stagflation

  • Lab govs of Harold Wilson + James Callaghan fail to improve Tory track record - attempts made to incr investment in 'white heat' of new tech - little impact due to cont inflation, unemployment + slow growth
  • Department of Economic Affairs 1964 under George Brown devise 'National Plan' to stimulate growth - not launched b/c lack resources, authority or working relations with Treasury
  • Lab respond to problems w/ same 'stop-go' measures as Tories before - lack of consitency was value of £ - Wilson want to avoid another devaluation by Lab gov after prev 1949 - Nov 1967 forced to cut value £ from $2.80 to $2.40 - loss of credibility
  • Unemployment + inflation boosted by events in Middle East - 16 Oct 1973 Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) raised oil prices by70% in retaliation to US support of Israel during Yom Kippur War
  • By 1974 oil prices risen due to incr cost of energy + fuel for transport - incr cost of imports force Lab gov to cap prices + wages + cut spending - unpopular - unemployment x2 1974-6 to 1.5m
  • 'Winter of Discontent'
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1.1 Industrial Change

  • Areas reliant on traditional industry struggle
  • Clydeside, Northumberland, Durham, Lancashire + South Wales key areas traditional ind
  • Trad ind reliant on exports + lost share of market as rivals able to fill gaps left in global market
  • Trad ind less competitive to EU counterparts whose machines destoroyed so bought new
  • Great Depression led to further contraction in demand for ships, steel, coal + textiles
  • Unemployment never fell below 1m 1921-40 almost 3m 1932-3
  • Employers seek to cut costs + improve productivity - gov incr seek to provide help for unemployed, employer-employee disputes
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1.1 Causes + impact of General Strike

  • Coal mining = dangerous 1922-24 3603 miners killed + 597,158 injured - felt underpaid
  • Miners Federation of Great Britain formidable union, represent 1m miners
  • 1919 Sankey Commission recommend gov ownership cont; mines privatised 1921; pay fail to keep up with prices, especially in unprofitable; unlike German + Polish rivals many owners not invest in mechanisation + 80% GB coal still mined with pickaxe
  • Mine owners maintain wages in 1925, broke this promise after surge in German coal production + return to Gold Standard = further fall in exports
  • Campaign to have 6hr day, instead incr to 8hrs - furious - gov subsidise miners' wages for 9mnths (£23m) to avoid general strike
  • March 1926 Samuel Commission recommend restructure coal ind - also pay cut
  • Reject with 'Not a minute on the day, not a minute off the pay'
  • TUC prepared to negotiate w/ gov - Baldwin use strike by printers at Daily Mail on 2 May to declare state of emergency
  • Churchill + Home Secretary William Joynson-Hicks urged such action b/c agreed strike would be a revolutionary movement to inflict suffering upon great mass in society
  • TUC general strike 3 May - 3m industrial workers went on strike in sympathy - 9 days it was over + miners left to strike alone for 6mnths w/o success
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1.1 Failure of general strike

  • Not all strikers went on strike in sympathy w/ miners - only printing, heavy industry, energy, textiles + transport
  • Gov prepare for strike since July 1925; created Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies, a network of volunteers who could step up to do essential jobs
  • Churchill put in charge gov paper The British Gazette - turn public against strike with hostile progaganda
  • TUC did much to limit ciolence - some clashes betwene volunteers + those on strike - 0 killed
  • Strike expensive for TUC; spent £4m of £12.5m total strike fund
  • Hebert Samuel
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1.1 Key changes in the workplace

  • No. people working incr despite rise in school age + fall avg age retirement
  • Fall no. miners + shipwrights 
  • No. mamufacturingworkers incr until 80s with growth in white collar sectors
  • Several reasons for growth white collar work
  • Higher disposable incomes = incr demands goods + services - meals out = more jobs
  • Gov spend public sector + ed = more jobs
  • Difficult to mechanise white collar jobs
  • Managerial structures in white collar firms less distant than in industry - communication better
  • White collar firms less likely to be unionised + less likely to strike 
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1.1 Changing role of women in work

  • 'Marriage bar' prevent women working and have to look after family
  • Educational opportunities limited career - left school at 15; those who stayed on learned secretarial skills, hair dressing or childcare
  • Only 15% doctors, 5% lawyers women 1960s
  • Almost 1/3 women still teens when they got married;most women birth in 1st 3yrs marriage
  • Changes included
  • Post ww2 women desire to work + found fulfillment in war work
  • Changes in education + white collar work incr
  • Strikes by women in Liverpool + Dagenham in Ford car plants 1968 - got pay deal of over 90% of mens rate for similar work
  • Equal Pay Act 1970 - equal pay for equal work, voluntary for businesses 1975  - 80% claim work not equal, 1983 loopholenreplaced with work of comparable value
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975 - illegal to be treated different b/c gender
  • Employment Protection Act 1975 illegal sack women b/c pregnant
  • Glass ceiling
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1.1 Industrial relations during and after WW2

  • Shift from high unemployment to wartime full employment + Lab/Cons promise to maintain
  • Over time this strengthened bargaining position trade unions to assertive action 60/70s
  • War led to inclusion trade unionists in gov body; most famous was Ernest Bevin as Minister for Labour and National Service in 1940
  • Trade unionists inclusion cont after ww2
  • Working w/ unions + an effort not to make industrial relations a party political dispute, were clear signs of a consensus about minimising ind disputes
  • Gov hope unions would voluntarily restrict wage demands; the spirit of wartime co-operation persisted until a spike of inflation in early 1950s - there after gov faced w/ dilema whether to keep unions happy + risk inflation or impose controls on wages/prices - risk bad ind rels
  • Govs try range of more/less forceful methods to limit pay demands - ineffective
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1.1 Industrial relations before 1972

  • Though GB economy cont to grow, failed to grow as rapidly as rival countries
  • GB ind fail to compete + jobs lost - this w/ wage/price controls = simmering tension
  • Sporadic + serious strikes inc national seamen's strike 1966
  • Consensus era gov used appeasement + ineffective sanctions to deal w/ unrest
  • Lab reliance trade union funding + party membership = impossible to resist demands
  • Barbara Castle's White Paper 1969 'In Place of Strife' would have undermined union strength but never implemented due to unpopularity
  • Tories tend to shy away from confrontation b/c they value civic order + electability over long term solution to poor ind rels
  • Heath tried but failed to tackle root causes of ind unrest; Industrial Relations Act failed to curtail union power b/c unions not forced to sign up to National Industrial Relations Court
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1.1 Industrial relations 1972-79

  • Ind rels far worse when wages fail to keep up w/ prices for 1st time since ww2
  • Escalation pay demands due to failure gov efforts to resist incr pay demands:
  • 1971 National Union of Miners demand 43% pay incr - gov offer 8% to stick to inflation targets - NUM call for all 280,000 miners to strike 9 Jan 1972 - gov declare 3 day week in Feb, after flying pickets were used to shut down coal distribution depots/power stations. Strike called off 19 Feb after gov offer 27% pay rise
  • NUM victory encourage other sectors to get pay rises - depite creation Pay Board to examine wage deals that affect 1000+ workers + a Price Commission to limit price incr for some companies; teachers, hospital staff, train drivers, Ford staff + gassmen strike Feb 1973
  • 1973 oil crisis = higher wage demands; NUM demand further35% rise - further 3 day wk impose 1 Jan 1974 - 4 Feb 1974 81% miners vote to go on strike - Heath's attempt to use gen election, campaigning on new slogan 'Who governs Britain?' to defeat miners fail
  • Callaghan want to stick to 5% pay incr 1978 - only had vague 'social contract' w/ unions to enforce policy - Nov, Ford strike = 17% pay incr - gov embarrassed
  • 3 Jan 1979 oil tanker/lorry drivers strike - tanker drivers quickly win incr but lorry drivers hold out for 6wks - refuse to deliver goods, picketed ports to stop supplies reaching ind, shops + hospitals - people begin to panic buy
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1.1 Industrial relations 1972-79 cont

  • 22 Jan 1.5m public sector workers strike - almost all schools shut w/ museums, libraries + other public buildings - w/ no porters, cooks or cleaners, hospitals only able to treat emergency cases. W/ dustment on strike, huge piles rubbish build up in towns/cities - in Liverpool grave diggers on strike, by end Jan 225 corpses stored in factory waiting burial. Gov accept defeat 14 Feb + allow incr 10-15% - mid-March people back at work
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